One of my friends got involved with a man at work. She constantly talked about this man whenever we spoke on phone or met in person. I could see how excited she was when told me about him just by looking at her face. I felt helpless watching her slipping away from her normal life. "Oh, we are just friends--nothing more," she said. I knew she would never get involved with him physically because she didn't dare to risk her family life. She had been married for several years by then and had two kids. She was under the false impression that she was keeping her feelings about him to herself. But what she failed to realize was that it was putting tremendous pressure on her personal, marital, and family life. The vibes were strong enough for her husband to suspect there was something going on.
There are people who have physical or sexual affairs. Then there are people who are constantly thinking about another person but don't act on it. People who have emotional affairs spend much of their lives being miserable because they don't dare to leave what they have but they are also not content with what they have. There are several reasons for people to have emotional affairs:
1. Lack of attention from the spouse: This is one of the major reasons why married people look at others. Over the years of marriage, intimate relationships between partners somewhat fade away or hibernate because of the family responsibilities. Taking care of the kids usually doesn't leave parents time for each other. Often partners take these feelings of being neglected and loneliness and turn towards outside attentions.
2. Not knowing where to draw a line between friendships and relationships: The meaning of the word "friendship" is taken in different ways by different people. In the present world if we don't watch the way we behave with others any of these friendships could turn out different then we anticipate. Some people have a hard time distinguishing between just being a friend or being too friendly. This is especially true when a person is having emotional upheaval at home. The slightest attention they get from others could be interpreted wrongly.